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Nokia, DOCOMO and NTT partner to develop key technologies for 6G

The three companies are working together on two proof of concepts that will look at new use cases in the 6G era, such as multi-modal mixed-reality telepresence and remote collaboration

Nokia is working with Japanese telcos DOCOMO and NTT on two proof of concepts for emerging 6G technologies: an AI native air interface and sub-THz radio access.

The companies say their aim is to demonstrate a performance gain with an AI-based 6G air interface compared to a conventional air interface, and to show that high-data rate beamformed access can be achieved in a high frequency band at 140 GHz.

Nokia says it believes 6G will not just build on existing technologies and systems but expand and transform what a network can do.

“It will fuse the human, physical and digital worlds to liberate our innate human potential,” said the company. “To achieve it, Nokia has envisioned six key technologies that will be vital components of future 6G networks. Those include new spectrum technologies, AI native air interface, network as a sensor, extreme connectivity, cognitive, automated and specialised architectures, and security and trust.”

Among the six key technology components, the initial focus of the partnership is to demonstrate the benefits of AI-based learned waveform in the transmitter with a deep learning receiver in the mid-band, as well as to test high data rate indoor communications in the sub-THz band.

These technologies have the potential to substantially improve deployment flexibility and to increase network throughput beyond that of 5G in the respective spectrum bands and without necessarily increasing energy consumption, said the companies.

Providing high-rate access will be important in enabling enhanced and new use cases in the 6G era, such as multi-modal mixed-reality telepresence and remote collaboration, massive twinning and collaborating robots.

Peter Vetter, President Bell Labs Core Research, Nokia, said: “We envision that 6G will unify the human experience across the digital, physical and human worlds. We build on a long tradition of collaborations between the world-leading labs at DOCOMO and Nokia Bell Labs. Nokia is very honoured to engage in this collaboration with DOCOMO and NTT, as global leading operators that are always among the first to bring new generations to the market. We look forward to working together and validating key concepts and key technologies to realise the 6G vision.”